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My full analysis of "The Call," including insight from from the WOPR Simulator can be found at Slate. Read it while it's hot--It's currently among the most read articles, up there with Why Does Hellmann's Mayonnaise Taste Different Than It Used To? and Help! My 11-Year Old Daughter Wants To Shave Her Legs. Is She Too Young? Here is a sample of my thoughts:

...Had Seattle run on second down and failed, it would have had to use its final timeout. This would mean that New England would know a pass was very likely on third down. If that had happened, the Internet would now be bashing Carroll for an entirely different reason...

...So I ran the situation through a game simulation. The simulator plays out the remainder of the game thousands of times from a chosen point—in this case from the second down on. I ran the simulation twice, once forcing the Seahawks to run on second down and once forcing them to pass. I anticipated that the results would support my logic (and Carroll’s explanation) that running would be a bad idea. It turns out I was wrong...

And by the way, it doesn't taste any different. It's just your imagination. And 11 is too young. Wait until 13.

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  • Guest - tom mcentee

    Love the site. The 1981 game between Cleveland and Oakland was actually a divisional playoff game. The game was played in 5 degree weather with wind chills in the - teens. The field was in awful shape, icy and chewed up. Additionally, Cockroft , the Browns kicker had missed two field goals and an extra point in that game so the "chippy" FG was by no means automatic. As far as this call is concerned, I don't care if NWEP out THIRTEEN in the box, I am giving Lynch the ball. The only pass should come out of "power" and would be a roll with a corner route.

  • Guest - TapeyBeerCone


    I enjoyed your article, and really love that you can leverage WOPR for added incite into situations like this. How easy is it to tailor WOPR to the particular matchup? say adding Lynch to Seattle upping the success of a run, but adding Brady to the Pats upping success for a possible 30 seconds drive to FG range?, or adding Gostkowski changing the odds on that FG attempt?

    Reading your analysis I agree that snapping the ball on 2 and 1 with 26 seconds remaining was too late. The 1st down played ended with 60 seconds on the clock. It was the Seahawk's decision to run 34 seconds off the clock before snapping the ball.

    Maybe Carrol assumed Belichik would call a timeout ( I know I did...) but that still seems like a poor excuse to force yourself into a clock management issue.

    Lastly, with 1 timeout I still feel that 3 runs is still a possibility even with 26 seconds left. Am I way off here? I'd say run at 26, say 5 seconds for the play so 21 seconds left, you have about 15 seconds to regroup and snap it, and you only need 1 second on the clock to call the last time out. And if that all seems too tight then 2nd down needed to start at 36 seconds, not 26...

  • I'm curious what the WPA assessment would be for Belichick's decision whether or not to use timeouts after the Kearse catch. Many have said Belichick blundered by not using his timeouts, as getting into field goal range with say 20 seconds and two timeouts would be less likely to achieve than with having 50 seconds and no timeouts. Using timeouts also would have meant that the Seahawks would have three vs. two chances to score--more likely, but I wonder by how much?

  • Guest - Casey

    Does the game simulation take into account personnel on the field? It would seem that personnel match-ups should have a large influence on the success or failure when looking at one specific play, versus average success or failure rates across thousands of possibilities.

  • Guest - Cheryl Kimblog

    I'm interested in sports not so long ago. I have a "wonderful profession," I am a writer for sites like Recently, I tried to understand yourself in everything that happens on the field but realized that it is simply unreal. Thank you for such reviews!

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    I'm interested to read the analysis made, but unfortunately at the moment I have a busy life can not be abandoned, can you give it as a pdf or word?

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